Rosyjska Północ jako punkt widzenia: Geopoetyczne strategie w prozie Mariusza Wilka
The Russian North as a Point of View: Geopoetic Strategies in Mariusz Wilk’s Prose
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This article analyses the geopoetic strategies in the prose of Mariusz Wilk, a Polish writer, who has been living in the Russian North, mostly on the Solvetzky Islands, since the 1990s. Th is area has become the subject of his essayistic writing. Mickiewicz’s idea of a ‘double’ Russia and his interesting – and paradoxical – colonizing view on Russia from the perspective of a colonized culture, function as reference points for the analysis. Wilk dissociates himself from the European tradition of writing about Russia, among which the Polish, to his opinion, played a great role in establishing the code of the western orientalizing view on Russia. Wilk’s hyperborean perspective enables him to establish his own – very personal – place in this tradition. To write about Russia from the northern point of view – and from an eccentric position – diverts the attention from the perception of Russia as the East and undermines the binary continental perspective. The prose of Wilk can be described as geopoetic in two respects. On the one hand, it contributes to a new tendency in literature that deals with the geographic space and combines autobiographism and factography with poetical essayism. On the other hand, it demonstrates its own performativity and metatextual consciousness: The importance of autopsy – of experience of the space – for his writing, which is stressed by the author, goes along with the search for a poetics that transforms this experience into text. The shifting of the perspective corresponds with the shifting of the canon: Wilk studies the Russian canon of literature and philosophy of culture and gets a lot of his inspiration from Varlam Shalamov. Wilk also refers to Shalamov in his central metaphor for his writing/traveling as a tropa. The transcultural effect of Wilk’s prose emerges, among others, through his linguistic experiments which follow a utopia of a language that could be understood both by Russians and Poles.
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